Home Pastors The North American Mission Board calls Birmingham-area pastors to prayer

The North American Mission Board calls Birmingham-area pastors to prayer

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Mark Hobafcovich said it was interesting that he, a Romanian-born, was working with an American mission board, but he is thrilled to be part of mobilizing pastors and churches for church planting across the North American Missionary Council.

“I am now an American citizen and a citizen of heaven,” Hobafcovich told a group of Birmingham-area pastors. “I am happy to meet pastors and other leaders and ask them to pray for new churches to bring people to Christ.”

Hobafcovich hosted a lunch at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham March 7, noting that NAMB uses this type of gathering to present a vision of loss and opportunity in North America. It will host 37 similar events this year, departing from Birmingham to Oxford, Mississippi and then to Memphis on this trip.

Consider planting

“Many in America and Canada have never heard the gospel,” Hobafcovich lamented. “They may have heard of Jesus, but not specifically of the forgiveness and eternal life he offers to those who seek him.

“At NAMB, we come and go, but state conventions, local associations and churches remain. We want to build and strengthen relationships with these groups,” he said. “We encourage them to pray for new churches across the country and to consider planting new churches themselves.”

Hobafcovich said his core message is prayer.

“Jesus had a prayer strategy when He asked us to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send out workers,” Hobafcovich noted. “This strategy has not changed. We need to pray for new churches and for new opportunities for the gospel to be shared in our homeland.

Opening speech

George Wright, senior pastor of Shades Mountain, was the keynote speaker at the luncheon, telling the group he felt called to do church planting as a student.

“My wife and I moved to northwest Atlanta in 2006 to plant a church and stayed there for 11 years,” he recalls. “We then took on a church in South Carolina for five years before moving to Birmingham last summer.

“Shades Mountain has a rich missionary history, and we continue to encourage our members to get involved in missions.”

Wright said he believes the next few years could be the best for God’s Church because the culture is “hungry and desperate” — conditions that have become more acute during COVID-19.

He pointed the pastors to a passage from Matthew 9 that Hobafcovich had quoted earlier, stating that Jesus had a heart for the Kingdom of God.

“His message was about the harvest,” Wright said. “The Church may be known for our message about masks, vaccines, and the current administration in Washington, but that is not our message. Jesus’ compassion moved him to action, and we must also show our compassion for hurting people by loving them and sharing Christ with them.

Wright called church planting the “evangelical front line” of the church.

“Heart for Prayer”

“Jesus also had a heart for prayer,” he noted. “He saw the labor shortage and called us to pray.

“Church planters depend on God and pray desperately because they know that if they don’t reach the lost, their work is a failure. All of us church leaders should get down on our knees, fall on our faces and cry out for the workers to join us in the work of the harvest.

NAMB asked local congregations to consider linking with church planters in North America as prayer partners. A website, prayforplanters.com, identifies church planters and their locations, and individuals and churches can commit to praying for specific workers. The same information is available by texting “pray” to 888123.

NAMB.net offers other stories of church planting, as well as resource materials for Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

Hobafcovich can be reached at 678-524-5025 or [email protected].